Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 9, 2005

Peter Cuneo: Lee/Marvel Ruling Helpful

imagePeter Cuneo became the first Marvel Enterprises executive to halfway admit in public the company is negotiating with Stan Lee over his contract dispute with the company. He did so by saying that the first-round win Lee enjoyed had led to helpful determinations as far as what issues should be on the table. As you may recall, the dispute relates to Lee signing a 1998 contract that included a clause for a percentage of movie-related profits.

I do think it's a bit much to predict a settlement might be announced soon, mostly as it's long been obvious that a settlement might be announced soon. I mean, it's fun, you can say you called it, but the fact is, Stan Lee's lawyer planned to be on the phone with Marvel the first or second day after the first decision was announced. The decision was crushing enough it left very little basis on which to be challenged except for the sake of challenging, which is the kind of sustained voyage into gray areas where a company that is beholden to stockholder and movie studios never wishes to travel. Lee is a reluctant client, an older client, and one that could probably benefit much more from a sizeable payout now than a potentially more sizeable payout later. Lee has enjoyed a succession of great jobs, but the Lees have always lived pretty well and despite ending up with a solid financial advice team a few years back after years of not making commitments in that direction, the comic book legend has never made the significant lump sum that takes the pressure off of constantly earning. In addition, some believe that the Stan Lee Media years may have cost Lee some of his reserves, such as they were.
posted 12:11 pm PST | Permalink

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